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The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) and its five constituent surveys—the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, and Illinois State Water Survey—serve the state of Illinois by providing rigorous, objective scientific research, data, and expertise to help understand, manage, and protect our essential natural resources. With around 600 full-time staff, PRI is one of the largest research institutes at the University of Illinois.

PRI is based in Urbana-Champaign, a diverse, affordable, micro-urban community. Learn more about Urbana-Champaign

U of I HR provides more information about applying to and working at the University of Illinois, including available benefits.

If you have questions about any PRI open positions or the application process, contact a member of our human resources team:

blog posts

  • Senior Scientific Specialist, Aquatic Ecologist - Illinois Natural History Survey/PRI

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking an Aquatic Ecologist to conduct basic and applied research assisting with ongoing surveys for aquatic amphibians and reptiles, freshwater mollusks, and fishes that are threatened, endangered, and Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and assist with planning and analysis of research studies associated with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. This position will be based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Senior Associate Director for Strategic Communications or an Associate Director for Strategic Communications

    The Prairie Research Institute is seeking a Senior Associate Director for Strategic Communications or an Associate Director for Strategic Communications (level is dependent on qualifications) to lead the Research Institute in the branding, marketing, and storytelling of PRI’s transformative science that benefits the people, economy, and environment of Illinois, the nation, and the world.

  • Water Resources Engineer - Prairie Research Institute

    The Prairie Research Institute is seeking to hire a Watershed Resources Engineer (Official Title: Visiting Scientific Specialist, Water Resources Engineering) to administer research activities of the survey by developing, planning, directing, and conducting basic and applied research as it relates to water resources hydrologic modeling, water-energy nexus, and water supply planning in the Watershed Sciences Section of the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).

  • eDNA Technician (Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey an hourly technician to conduct molecular genetic research with an emphasis on environmental DNA assay development and data analysis, community metabarcoding, and population genomics. Duties will include collecting and processing eDNA field samples, conducting DNA and eDNA extractions, participating in DNA quantification, plating for multi-locus metabarcoding, conducting PCR and qPCR validation, optimization, and data generation, participating in molecular genetic generation and data management, and contributing to technical reports and manuscripts. This position will be based out of Champaign, Illinois.

  • Visiting Scientific Specialist, Engineering - Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

    The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center is seeking to hire a Visiting Scientific Specialist, Engineering to participate in research related to improving the sustainability of industrial processes, materials, and the management of industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste.  Position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Survey Technician (Student Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking two students to assist with all aspects of survey research including, but not limited to, conducting interviews, interview transcription, and applied coding.  This position will be based in Champaign, Illinois. 

  • Aquatic Ecology Technician (Hourly): Illinois Natural History Survey: Kinmundy, Illinois

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a field technician to conduct field and experimental work as well as laboratory tasks in support of research projects on sportfish management and invasion biology in lakes and ponds. This position would be based at the Sam Parr Biological Station in Kinmundy, Illiniois. 

  • Aquatic Field Technician (Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey: Macomb, Illinois

    INHS is seeking (1-3) field technicians to conduct applied research in aquatic ecology and large river systems throughout the state of Illinois, focusing on the Mississippi River. Technicians will assist large river ecologists in the collection of standardized long-term river monitoring data with additional targeted data collection and lab sample processing. This position will be 40 hours per week and will be based in Macomb, Illinois.

  • Office Administrator 50% - Illinois Natural History Survey - Alton, IL

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking an Office Administrator to provide administrative support for the business operations and staff at the Great Rivers Field Station (GRFS). This Office Administrator position is a 50%-time, benefits eligible, Civil Service position located in Alton, Illinois. The work schedule of this position is flexible and will be determined by the needs of the Great Rivers Field Station and the Illinois Natural History Survey (Work schedule will consist of 18.75 hours per week, 12 months per year). The minimum salary for this position is $22.825 per hour. The expected start date is as soon as possible after January 3, 2023. 

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate (Population, Climate, and Disease Modeling) - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to collaborate on a project developing predictive models of avian disease in the Laurentian Great Lakes. This position will be based out of Champaign, Illinois.

  • Watershed Science Field Specialist - Illinois State Water Survey, PRI

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) is seeking to hire a Visiting Scientific Specialist, Watershed Science to manage watershed field data collection campaigns and assist with the reduction and dissemination of collected data. Perform field data collection, deploy and maintain field instrumentation.

  • Visiting Assistant Research Scientist, Process Engineering - Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

    The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center is seeking to hire a Visiting Assistant Research Scientist, Process Engineering (up to 5, depending on applicant pool and programmatic need) to conduct research in the areas of carbon management, waste management, or other relevant clean energy/resource utilization topics.   Position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Senior Scientific Specialist, Terrestrial Ecology - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a Terrestrial Ecologist to conduct basic and applied research assisting with ongoing surveys for terrestrial reptile, bat, and noctuid moth species that are threatened, endangered, and Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and assist with planning and analysis of research studies associated with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. This position will be based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Assistant Research Scientist, River Ecology - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a River Ecologist to Administer research activities of the Survey by managing and conducting activities focused on developing and accessing field sampling protocols used to monitor small fish Species of Greatest Conservation Needs (SGCN) in large rivers of Illinois. This position will be based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Letters of Map Revision (LOMR) Hydraulic Engineer - Illinois State Water Survey, PRI

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) is seeking to hire a Letters of Map Revision (LOMR) Hydraulic Engineer (Official Title: Assistant Research Scientist, LOMR Hydraulic Engineering) to review and process Letters of Map Revision (LOMR) applications submitted to the Illinois LOMR Review Partners Program by ensuring that rigorous hydrologic and hydraulic technical standards are met, and federal floodplain management regulations are followed. Serve as Principal Investigator and/or manage projects and perform engineering analyses related to surface water resources and develop models of hydrologic and hydraulic processes.

  • Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Engineering - Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

    The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center is seeking to hire a Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Engineering (up to 4, depending on applicant pool and programmatic need) to perform laboratory research and operations and participate in technology development in ongoing projects pertinent to carbon management, waste management, or other relevant clean energy and resource utilization topics.  Position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Visiting Scientific Specialist, Environmental Assessments Researcher - Illinois State Geological Survey

    The Illinois State Geological Survey is seeking to hire a Visiting Scientific Specialist, Environmental Assessments Researcher (up to five depending on applicant pool and programmatic need) to perform sponsored research on environmental assessments. The assessments will involve evaluating potential environmental and geologic hazards and risks for Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) infrastructure improvement projects. IDOT’s infrastructure projects range in size and can involve anything from a single property to hundreds of properties across many miles of existing or future highways.  IDOT uses the assessments completed by ISGS to assess each project’s needs, plan the agency’s short-term and long-term needs, assist in land acquisition decisions, and promote awareness of natural and man-made hazards that may affect the project and its construction.  This is a hybrid position.  Field vehicles and equipment are based out of our office in Lisle, Illinois, a western Chicago suburb.

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate - Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

    The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center is seeking to hire a Postdoctoral Research Associate (up to 2 depending on applicant pool and programmatic need) to participate in and conduct technology research and development in ongoing projects pertinent to carbon management, waste management, or other relevant clean energy and resource utilization topics. Position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Graduate Research Assistantships - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey (a division of the Prairie Research Institute of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) is seeking a two Graduate Research Assistants to conduct research in aquatic ecology, invasion biology, or recreational fisheries management. Specifically, we seek an MS RA for a project on the behavioral ecology of the invasive Black Carp, including an experimental assessment of the flow preferences and predatory impacts of juvenile Black Carp. Secondly, we are seeking an MS or Ph.D. RA to conduct research on habitat enhancement of urban recreational fisheries.  

  • Director, Energy and Minerals Group (Principal Research Scientist, Geology) - Illinois State Geological Survey

    The Illinois State Geological Survey is seeking to hire a Director, Energy and Minerals Group (Principal Research Scientist, Geology) to provide leadership, clear scientific vision, and direction to the sub-disciplines and staff members who comprise the Energy and Minerals Group; encourage multidisciplinary project-based research related to energy,  geologic storage (e.g., carbon dioxide, hydrogen, natural gas, geothermal, and compressed air), and mineral resource development; facilitate coordination, communication, and teamwork throughout the Survey, PRI, and with other components of the University, as well as state and federal government and with industry collaborators; and implement and administer research and service programs of the Survey. Coordinate and promote funding opportunities to facilitate innovative project-based research for the Energy and Minerals Group throughout the Survey and PRI.  Establish clear metrics for a diverse and inclusive workforce with a focus on transformative energy and minerals research. Position is based in Champaign, Illinois.